Friday, June 9, 2006

Merry Christmakkah, Soccer Style

It's like Christmas morning, except that it lasts as long as Hannukkah times four: 30 days of presents.

If you are stuck at work and cannot watch, then watch this instead. It will definitley get your footy juices flowing.

Costa Rica's government has declared today a national holiday, shutting down the entire country so that everyone can watch their opening match with Germany. That rules.

Enough talk about prostituition, beer wars, dildo controversies, and all the rest of the wackiness. Time to get it on (the soccer that is, not the sex for pay, drunkenness, and dildonics).

***Remember that FIFA is putting up highlight videos of each match on their site shortly after the conclusion of each match. If they first one is any indication, they are great: high quality, no announcers, just the highlights and stadium noise. Go here, then scroll down a bit and in the Germany 2006 Highlights section click on "see all the highlights here". Enjoy.

Might as well get a prediction down so I can look back at how stupid I was.

Spain beats Argentina in the final.

My final 16 is way too chalky, like an NCAA braket with too many high seeds and not enough upsets. Anyways, here is who I have going through:

1A Germany
2A Ecuador

1B Sweden
2B England

1C Argentina
2C Holland

1D Portugal
2D Iran

1E Italy
2E Ghana

1F Brasil
2F Australia

1G France
2G Switzerland

1H Spain
2H Ukraine

Round of 16
1A Germany v 2B England: England wins
1C Argentina v 2D Iran: Argentina wins
1E Italy v 2F Australia: Australia wins
1G France v 2H Ukraine: France wins
1B Sweden v 2A Ecuador: Sweden wins
1D Portugal v 2C Holland: Portugal wins
1F Brasil v 2E Ghana: Brasil wins
1H Spain v 2G Switzerland: Spain wins

Argentina defeat England
France defeat Australia
Sweden defeat Portugal
Spain defeat Brasil

Argentina defeat France
Spain defeat Sweden

Spain defeats Argentina

The zero hour is upon us. Enjoy.

***Wow. If that first goal is any indication, this tournament is going to be GREAT.***

1-0 Deutschland. 7th minute.


Anonymous said...

It is nice to see that someone else enjoys college football and fĂștbol. Awesome site and sadly Germany-Costa Rica has just ended with a score of 4-2 in favor of Germany.

Anonymous said...

I'll drink to your predictions.

At this point, I'll drink to anything.

Here's hoping that Aragones burst out with the funnies in his victory speech.

Kanu said...

Moin - If Spain do go out, I would love for them to go out to France with Henry scoring 5 goals just to stick it to the racist Aragones.

Anonymous said...

Forget France, try Ivory Coast. *another round for the thought*

Kanu said...

That would be even better. Henry just popped in my head since he was the object of his affection.

By the way, do you know what {expeletive} was specifically? All I ever read was {expletive}, I assume it was the Spanish equivalent of shit or fuck.

Aragones approached Spain striker Jose Antonio Reyes, who like Henry plays for English club Arsenal, at Las Rozas and shouted in his face: "Some players have to see things more clearly.
"Tell that black [expletive] that you are better than him. Tell him from me. You're the best."

Anonymous said...

Your point of view on why Spain cannot get it all together do to the amount of regional division in the country is correct. Talent wise I also have to agree with how filthy rich Spain is and they just need something to rally around. Just finished reading your overviews they are pretty much correct even with Brazil's suspect defense they are the team to beat but my lack of money is going to be on Argentina or Spain. Well it now time for Poland-Ecaudor.

Kanu said...

I think Spain can beat Brasil with Reyes and Torres running Cafu and Carlos ragged. I also agree with LD that since many of the Brasilians play in La Liga, Spain will not be as intimidated by them, and familiarity will only help them.

Anonymous said...

Here's an article about it by my favorite journalist covering Spanish football, Sid Lowe:,,1353008,00.html

He used "mierda", which is Spanish for shit. (It's "merde" in French, if you ever run into the need to use it.)

What's worse was his follow up actually: "Me cago en su puta madre." Which literally translates to: "I shit on his prostitute mother."

And I think this kind of.. well.. sheds some more light onto the situation. Aragones was just being the crude and rude man that he is. The "Me cago en su puta madre" phrase is apparently a common phrase in Spanish, so he was just throwing a tantrum of sorts, on the sideline, at Reyes for being competely outplayed by Henry. I think he just threw in that "black" adjective in there at the heat of the moment. Was it wrong? Yeah, of course. Fireable? Definitely. But it's not terrible indicative of some latent racism on the man himself. He made it worse by refusing to apologize and accusing the English press of over-reacting though. I think to him, he basically just said: "tell that shit you are better than him".

That said, the culture in Spain is very insensitive when it comes to these things, much much less so than here in America (or England). I'm sure you know about the "monkey" chants. But it's not just that. Like the examples about Guti, Paul Gasol, and Becks in the article. Giving someone stereotypical black qualities isn't considered offensive, neither is the notion of blackfaced white people. The whole culture is behind the times in this matter. Keep in mind though, there has never been a huge population of black in Spanish history (they weren't in the importing slaves business, unlike *ahem* us; nor did they have colonies in Africa like Britain or France).

So I can't really say that Aragones is a huge racist. Just an ignoramous.

Anonymous said...

What a horrible expression for that to be a common phrase in Spain. As a native Spanish speaker I am shocked that someone would toss something like that as almost an afterthought. Truly sick.

Anonymous said...

Well, that's not too far away from the: "Motherfucking retarded son of a bitch." I'm guessing if we really thought about how we curse, there's some pretty nasty things in there.

Kanu said...

More from Aragones, and it looks like he is not alone - commetns fromthe Ukraine manager below his:

Although many of the stars of almost every domestic league from Russia westward are from the African Diaspora (which includes Brazil), an astonishing level of racism persists among fans and even coaches at the highest levels of the game. Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin, for example, bemoaned the globalization of his domestic league thus: "The more Ukrainians there are playing in the national league, the more examples there are for the young generation. Let them learn from [our players] and not some zumba-bumba whom they took off a tree, gave two bananas and now he plays in the Ukrainian league.''

Then there was the Spanish team's coach, Luis Aragones, caught on TV telling striker Jose Antonio Reyes that he was better than his French Arsenal teammate Thierry Henry. Except Aragones didn't say Henry's name, he said, "that black shit." A few days later, he insisted that there was nothing racist about the remark: "Reyes is ethnically a gypsy," said Aragones. "I have got a lot of gypsy and black friends. All I did was to motivate the gypsy by telling him he was better than the black."

Anonymous said...

I hope you put some money on your pics for the first round!!!!! The only team you got wrong was Iran..... mighty impressive I must say myself. Whoeverthehell you are.... YOU ARE THE SHIT MAN.

Kanu said...

Thanks anon. Nope I didn't place any bets; if only there was a Ladbrokes or William Hill on every corner here like there is in London...

Alot of my picks were favorites, it really is just a case of me going 3 for 4 on my 4 against the grain picks, with Ecuador, Ghana, and Australia getting it done (Iran did not), as well as not going with some other trendy cinderellas (Ivory Coast, Serbia & Montenegro, USA, South Korea).

Probably more a case of my picks getting lucky and making me look smarter than I am.

On the other hand, If Spain and Brasil get through and Spain beat them in the quarters, then I'll have something to crow about.